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Roller Derby Forum Discussions about banked-track and flat-track roller derby events, teams, skaters, and training methods.

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Old February 8th, 2016, 03:53 AM   #1
artderbylife
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Question Fresh Meat questions

So, I joined a derby league back in November and I hadn't been on skates in 20 years. It was okay, kinda rough starting out, but I'm getting better it seems every practice--when I can make it.

Since I'm not really learning derby yet, I'm just learning skating skills, I'd like to mention some things I'm having trouble with:

1.) Backwards skating: I'm perpetually stuck unless I'm going downhill. Oh, btw, we practice on what I guess is "polished concrete" basketball courts, outside. But I'm so stuck trying to skate backwards and EVERYBODY has something different to say about what I need to be doing- different ways to show me. It seems the only thing that was slightly effective was when I was hand-holding with someone skating forward and they went backward, I went forward, vice/versa. Kind of a teeter-totter effect.

2.) Crossovers: actually I think I'm okay with them, but I'm in the process of trying different wheel durometers to see what works the best for my surface. My 84As were too sticky (Sure Grip Equalizers), and Zombie red mids 95A were a bit too fast. I'm waiting on Radar Presto 88As (wide) to come in the mail, but what I was saying was I think I'm okay, I was on the original wheels (Equalizers) but since I've been trying new wheels I am totally scared to do crossovers

3.) 360 Transitions: The first time I tried them I fell on my shoulder. After already falling on my bum from jumping cracks, so I pretty much gave up and haven't tried since

4.) Jumps: I'm struggling jumping cracks, let alone the helmet I'm going to have to jump for evals.

5.) Speed: I think this will be easier to work up to when I have the right wheels but I don't know what else can fix this

Also-- How do I know if my trucks are loose/tight enough? What is a good height for my toestops?

My minimum skills evaluations are at the end of March and I'm freaking out. I already worry too much about everything and am a tad perfectionist-ic, but this is making me nuts.

Sorry it was a very longwinded first post.
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Old February 8th, 2016, 06:16 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by artderbylife View Post
How do I know if my trucks are loose/tight enough?
You might want to take a look at this thread: Avenger plate wobble

I'll leave the rest of your questions for now. Hopefully some of the derby folks will hop in to answer those.

.
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Old February 8th, 2016, 10:24 AM   #3
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If you're having problems with speed then you probably aren't doing crossovers quite right. Obviously my suggestions are guesses, having not seen you personally, but I have seen a lot of inexperienced skaters. I'm guessing that when you cross and uncross your feet you move your feet into the new position, then shift your weight. That means you've already straightened the powering leg without getting any power, and it can also make the powering leg feel sticky when you try to get that last bit of oomph to shift your weight over at the end of a step. Remember that crossovers are a type of step. When you walk your weight moves with the moving foot, and the same should be true on skates.

For backwards skating there are a lot of potential things that could be happening. (Not) shifting weight with the step could be the issue. You could need to bend your knees more.

For jumping, what exactly is the problem? The most obvious things to check are that you are bending your knees before and after the jump. You need to bend them before so you have a range of motion to actually jump, and after cushions the landing and allows you to gain your balance.
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Old February 8th, 2016, 04:22 PM   #4
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I hope this helps....
Quote:
Originally Posted by artderbylife View Post
So, I joined a derby league back in November and I hadn't been on skates in 20 years. It was okay, kinda rough starting out, but I'm getting better it seems every practice--when I can make it.
Congrats for getting back in the roll of things!
Since I'm not really learning derby yet, I'm just learning skating skills, I'd like to mention some things I'm having trouble with:

1.) Backwards skating: I'm perpetually stuck unless I'm going downhill. Oh, btw, we practice on what I guess is "polished concrete" basketball courts, outside. But I'm so stuck trying to skate backwards and EVERYBODY has something different to say about what I need to be doing- different ways to show me. It seems the only thing that was slightly effective was when I was hand-holding with someone skating forward and they went backward, I went forward, vice/versa. Kind of a teeter-totter effect.
I started by tracing the outline of a snowman with my skates. This will propel you backwards. Don't stand up straight. Keep your shoulders, hips and heels lined up.
2.) Crossovers: actually I think I'm okay with them, but I'm in the process of trying different wheel durometers to see what works the best for my surface. My 84As were too sticky (Sure Grip Equalizers), and Zombie red mids 95A were a bit too fast. I'm waiting on Radar Presto 88As (wide) to come in the mail, but what I was saying was I think I'm okay, I was on the original wheels (Equalizers) but since I've been trying new wheels I am totally scared to do crossovers
This may sting a bit. You are working towards being a full fledged roller derby girl and you are afraid of cross overs with new wheels? Put on your big girl panties and kick cross over butt. Mind over matter.
3.) 360 Transitions: The first time I tried them I fell on my shoulder. After already falling on my bum from jumping cracks, so I pretty much gave up and haven't tried since.
Since I can't see exactly what you are doing or not doing I will give you the following general advice. 1. Don't be afraid of falling (you are in roller derby that comes with the territory) 2. I think you are referring to a 180 transition (front to back or back to front) 3. Your torso and your hips should be locked together turning as one. 4. Make sure you are shifting your weight, sometimes people know what to do with their feet, but forget to shift their weight. 5. Keep an eye on your form when jumping (possibly widen your stance & bend knees)

4.) Jumps: I'm struggling jumping cracks, let alone the helmet I'm going to have to jump for evals.
We had to jump over the coach, you have it easy.
5.) Speed: I think this will be easier to work up to when I have the right wheels but I don't know what else can fix this
Again without seeing what you are working with now....I can say that I see a lot of short strides with derby girls. Possibly lengthen your stride and really get a good underpush in the corners.
Also-- How do I know if my trucks are loose/tight enough? What is a good height for my toestops?
Personal preference, when I can side surf with no resistance it's good. I prefer my toe stop cranked all the way up, out of my way. Both of these are a personal preference thing. If you can't slalom on one foot with ease...maybe loosen your trucks up or invest in softer cushions.
My minimum skills evaluations are at the end of March and I'm freaking out. I already worry too much about everything and am a tad perfectionist-ic, but this is making me nuts.
Don't worry.....visualize derby greatness
Sorry it was a very longwinded first post.
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Old February 11th, 2016, 09:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artderbylife View Post
...
5.) Speed: I think this will be easier to work up to when I have the right wheels but I don't know what else can fix this

...
You are no doubt aware of the fact that when just starting from a dead stop, it's necessary to extend you push stroke with the plate positioned on the floor with the forefoot angled further out and the push directed more rearward than once you are rolling.

However after you get moving at a minimum speed, your push needs to be redirected to a laterally only, straight outward 90 angle from the direction of roll.

The purpose of this 90 outward directed push stroke is to shift the center of as much of your body mass as you can get laterally moving inward, both as far and as quickly as you can move it (faster inward weight shift delivers more energy than than further shift), before your up in the air and reaching inward skate gets landed back down on the floor.

The amount of speed boost you get from your stroke correlates with many other things as well, but of primary concern is being able to remain stable while rolling with only one skate down and especially when that down skate is moving your full weight back and forth laterally, on the turns, and while in crossover mode.

This is critical, and doing "slow-motion" skating in circles while doing crossovers is the best exercise for improving your stability and confidence, which later, rolling at full speed, enables you to execute a more powerful push during the only one skate down phase of your push stroke.

The slow motion aspect is meant to have the time it takes to complete each push stroke be expanded out to ~2-3 seconds. This demands rolling longer on the one down skate and on a curved path (circles) before switching over to the other skate.

The more time you put into skating slow motion circles, the faster those skills needed for reaching the higher speed levels you desire should improve.

Seems counter intuitive, but it really works wonders. Going slo-mo allows you to more carefully monitor what you do, and gradually you will begin to observe all the little (or big) errors you make, at various points in the crossover, that are problematic for maintaining best form. It also makes you work your ankle muscles longer and harder, to build their strength to the level you need for good stability when you roll with only one foot down (which at speed should be all the time spent in the turns).

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Old February 12th, 2016, 06:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artderbylife View Post
So, I joined a derby league back in November and I hadn't been on skates in 20 years. It was okay, kinda rough starting out, but I'm getting better it seems every practice--when I can make it.

Since I'm not really learning derby yet, I'm just learning skating skills, I'd like to mention some things I'm having trouble with:

1.) Backwards skating: I'm perpetually stuck unless I'm going downhill. Oh, btw, we practice on what I guess is "polished concrete" basketball courts, outside. But I'm so stuck trying to skate backwards and EVERYBODY has something different to say about what I need to be doing- different ways to show me. It seems the only thing that was slightly effective was when I was hand-holding with someone skating forward and they went backward, I went forward, vice/versa. Kind of a teeter-totter effect.

2.) Crossovers: actually I think I'm okay with them, but I'm in the process of trying different wheel durometers to see what works the best for my surface. My 84As were too sticky (Sure Grip Equalizers), and Zombie red mids 95A were a bit too fast. I'm waiting on Radar Presto 88As (wide) to come in the mail, but what I was saying was I think I'm okay, I was on the original wheels (Equalizers) but since I've been trying new wheels I am totally scared to do crossovers

3.) 360 Transitions: The first time I tried them I fell on my shoulder. After already falling on my bum from jumping cracks, so I pretty much gave up and haven't tried since

4.) Jumps: I'm struggling jumping cracks, let alone the helmet I'm going to have to jump for evals.

5.) Speed: I think this will be easier to work up to when I have the right wheels but I don't know what else can fix this

Also-- How do I know if my trucks are loose/tight enough? What is a good height for my toestops?

My minimum skills evaluations are at the end of March and I'm freaking out. I already worry too much about everything and am a tad perfectionist-ic, but this is making me nuts.

Sorry it was a very longwinded first post.

OK, step one. Stop breath in, breath out.

I'm not kidding.

Freshmeat is intimidating . If it helps only around 1 in 10 will pass the first time around here. If you've never skated the expected learning time to pass is 3 to 6 months. Chill out, take a breath and keep a tally not of what you have left to pass but what you have accomplished. Positivity and perserverince is the solution to literally all of the problems you have listed.

Now if you post a video I am sure we can help you make changes or give you tips.

Oh btw, big tip here. If you can skate a mostly straight line on one foot you can loosen your trucks more. Day one I take all my freshies and tune all their skates to "zero lash" (loose without giggling) and have them skate a few laps. If they are unstable we turn 1/4 turn until they look ok
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Old February 12th, 2016, 11:23 PM   #7
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Skill = Time Spent Practicing. No exceptions.

The general consensus is in order to become an "expert" at just about anything from playing sports to playing music you have to put in about 10,000 hours doing the thing. Thankfully, you don't have to be an expert skater to be a Derby Girl. You wanna shoot for the Olympics...10,000 hours of practice is minimal.

How many hours have you been at it so far?

When I turned 35 I tried to estimate how many hours I had spent skating. Conservatively, at that time, I had spent roughly 3 years of my life on skates or 26,280 hours. I'm 57 years old now. God only knows how many hours I have racked up. Yes, I am pretty good at it. Just this week I put in 120 miles which is about 12 hours. It adds up fast if skating is THE thing you love to do.
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Old February 13th, 2016, 08:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artderbylife View Post
So, I joined a derby league back in November and I hadn't been on skates in 20 years. It was okay, kinda rough starting out, but I'm getting better it seems every practice--when I can make it.

Since I'm not really learning derby yet, I'm just learning skating skills, I'd like to mention some things I'm having trouble with:

1.) Backwards skating: I'm perpetually stuck unless I'm going downhill. Oh, btw, we practice on what I guess is "polished concrete" basketball courts, outside. But I'm so stuck trying to skate backwards and EVERYBODY has something different to say about what I need to be doing- different ways to show me. It seems the only thing that was slightly effective was when I was hand-holding with someone skating forward and they went backward, I went forward, vice/versa. Kind of a teeter-totter effect.

Simply put, your heels become your toes. Your heels must carve the arch that your toes normally would while skating forwards. You can only push laterally on your skates, so if you point your toes in the angle of attack you create will have your movement from pushing your feet out, send you backwards. A good drill for this is lemons.

Stand feet together, put the majority of your weight on your arches (inside edges) toes slightly pointed out, push your legs apart sideways. As your feet travel past shoulder width, they should start to point straight and eventually your toes will start to point inward. At this point try to pull your legs back together. When your feet come close to one another resist them from touching by pushing your feet apart. Once you come to a stop its time to go backwards. This is done by again pushing your legs apart while staying on the inside edges. The main difference will be instead of trying to draw your toes together after going past shoulder width, it will be your heels.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zonGx1vwLe8

I know this is ice hockey, however this easily illustrates the angle your shooting for. Its much easier to see the pitch on inlines and ice skates than on quads. The beginning of the video has them going one way, and then skip to about 53 second in and you can clearly see the movement to go backwards. Virtually all skating drills that are done on ice will work on quads, with very little changes needed if any at all.

The other skill building this helps with is plow stops, both forward and backwards when doing the lemons in a stand still.




2.) Crossovers: actually I think I'm okay with them, but I'm in the process of trying different wheel durometers to see what works the best for my surface. My 84As were too sticky (Sure Grip Equalizers), and Zombie red mids 95A were a bit too fast. I'm waiting on Radar Presto 88As (wide) to come in the mail, but what I was saying was I think I'm okay, I was on the original wheels (Equalizers) but since I've been trying new wheels I am totally scared to do crossovers

If your intimidated by a simple wheel switch then your crossover form isnt good yet. Good crossover skills will keep you from worrying about the grip level. Instead you'd be pounding on the wheels no matter what they are trying to find your speed and grip limitations with each set. There is no easy solution, you must skate... ALOT.


3.) 360 Transitions: The first time I tried them I fell on my shoulder. After already falling on my bum from jumping cracks, so I pretty much gave up and haven't tried since

Start by learning good 180 transitions in both rotating directions first from forwards to backwards. Then you must learn to skate backwards. As a transition is only as usefull as your skill while backwards skating. Once you can confidently skate backwards your ready to learn to transition back to forwards. If you can't comfortably skate backwards with stability, trying a transition while going backwards is almost a mute point.

4.) Jumps: I'm struggling jumping cracks, let alone the helmet I'm going to have to jump for evals.
you need to stagger your feet slightly, one foot placed slightly infront, one slightly behind your center mass, this gives you stability from falling forwards or backwards while jumping. Also just straight up. Your already traveling forwards (rolling) you dont need anything else other than height. A straight up and down jump is all thats needed. Easy enough to practice while holding a rail standing still.

5.) Speed: I think this will be easier to work up to when I have the right wheels but I don't know what else can fix this
A skater is either fast or slow, there are a few exceptions, but this only matters when comparing equally skilled skaters. My daughter can keep up with our fastest backwards skater with the best wheels I have, but if they were on the same wheels, no way. Gear helps augment performance, but it does not create it.

Also-- How do I know if my trucks are loose/tight enough?

If your running stock cushions you may want to change them to something better. Trucks can be set to what we call 0 lash, (where there is only enough pressure to remove all freeplay and secure the assembly) or set with a fair bit of compression. About 3 rotations past 0 lash. Beyond that you may want harder cushions.


What is a good height for my toestops?

Answering a question with another question here... What FEELS comfortable? This can change from plate to plate, boot to boot, and stop to stop, not just skater to skater. You want it set where you are not at a limit of flexibility, so your ankle can bend in all directions a bit without reaching a point where it can go no farther. That where breaks and sprains start happening(at flexibility limits). Simply unlock the stoppers and thread them in all the way, check how they feel, then if thats too high, take them 1 revolution out, check again how it feels. When you think it feels right, lock it down and really test it out.

My minimum skills evaluations are at the end of March and I'm freaking out. I already worry too much about everything and am a tad perfectionist-ic, but this is making me nuts.

Skate more, worry less

Sorry it was a very longwinded first post.

It wasn't that bad
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Old March 1st, 2016, 10:47 PM   #9
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Re Backward: There are a number a ways to learn how to backward skate. I won't go into it as it is TEDIOUS to explain, and you have people in real life helping you. The trick is to find that method that seems easiest to you. Then develop it. Then learn the others.
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